- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Born Sunisa Phabsomphou in 2003, Lee’s mother is a refugee from Laos. She took the surname of her step-father, John Lee, when she was a teenager. She has three half-siblings and two step-siblings. She was born in St Paul, Minnesota, the state’s capital.
Lee first began competing in gymnastics when she was seven, just a year after she first started taking classes. She qualified for elite status at 11.
Lee first made the junior national team in 2017 and debuted in Gymnix International Junior Cup where she won a gold medal in the team event and a silver on the uneven bars.
As a junior, she competed in the 2018 US National Championships, where she was hotly tipped for a gold medal. She eventually won bronze overall and gold again on the uneven bars.
The following year Lee made her senior debut at the 2019 City of Jesolo Trophy. At the tournament, Lee won the all-around gold medal and also a team gold. She also won gold on the bars and floor and a bronze on the beam.
Later in 2019, Lee competed at the US National Championships and won a silver medal in the all-around, only finishing behind Simone Biles. She also won a gold on the bars and bronze on the floor.
As a result of her performance at the tournament, Lee was added to the US national team.
The following month, Lee competed at the US World Championship trials where she finished second overall, again behind Biles and was picked to be a part of the US team to compete in Stuttgart.
She was the only first year senior on the team as well as being the only one who had never previously competed at a world championship’s before.
At the 2019 World Championships, Lee won a gold in the team event, a silver on the floor and a bronze on the uneven bars.
After the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic cancelled most of the 2020 season, Lee did not compete at the Olympic trials until June 2021. Lee finished in an overall second place behind Biles and qualified for the team.
At the Tokyo Olympics, Lee won a gold medal in the all-around event, a silver in the team and a bronze in the uneven bars.
After her Olympic success, Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota, declared 30 July to be “Sunisa Lee Day”.